SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Netflix has halted production of its Western film “The Harder They Fall” after at least two people on the set tested positive for the coronavirus while working in New Mexico.
The production did not identify the people infected with the virus, and declined to comment beyond confirming that production stopped as of Thursday. It is unclear when production is expected to resume. Productions usually wait two weeks with no positive tests before resuming.
The New Mexico Rapid Response report listed the positive test at Santa Fe Studios, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
The New Mexico Environment Department, which publishes a daily list of entities in the state reporting newly confirmed coronavirus tests, reported that Netflix confirmed at least five positive test results between Oct. 8 and Oct. 19, with at least two of those reports listed as “THTF,” an acronym for the film, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
The production has been required to adhere to state safety guidelines, including facial masks and social distancing. The cast and crew was also subjected to multiple tests a week.
Production for the film began in late September after being shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. New Mexico State Film Office Director Amber Dodson said it had been the only full-fledged production back to work as of the end of last week.
In the Western, outlaw Nat Love, played by Jonathan Majors, discovers that his enemy, Rufus Buck, played by Idris Elba, is being released from prison, so he reunites his gang to track Buck down and seek revenge. The cast also includes Zazie Beetz, Delroy Lindo, Lakeith Stanfield, Danielle Deadwyler, Edi Gathegi, RJ Cyler and Regina King.
In March, Elba was one of the first actors to announce he had tested positive for COVID-19. He has since recovered.
For most people, this novel coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.